About Education

images My last post about education was almost three years ago.  As my wife and I are mulling about moving my daughter to another class next year to avoid the “bitchy and unpopular” teacher who will be handling her class, thoughts about education hovered in my brain again and prompted me to revisit the subject. Parents are certainly concerned about their children’s education but in this part of the world, not having a college or university degree is not tantamount to a death sentence, where a person will wallow in poverty for the rest of his life. In other countries higher education has been commoditized, a requisite to landing a dignified job. It matters not whether your brain really has it or not as long as you have a degree to show for.  Failure to possess it is akin to not making it across the bridge to survival.

It is little short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not already completely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry…. I believe that one could even deprive a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness if one could force it with a whip to eat continuously whether it were hungry or not… Albert Einstein (1879-1955) U.S. physicist

By the time we learned to communicate with fellow humans, we have been brainwashed into thinking that education is a “must have” to survive in this world of ours.  Sometimes our parents and other societal factors other than our innate talents and desires dictate and coerce us to undertake a discipline of education which is not to our liking. Those of us who have no enthusiasm for higher learning and prefer to use their bare hands to pursue the noble vocation of being tillers and builders are equally subjected to the same encumbrance, of achieving higher education for the sake of achieving, to fullfil the rite of passage. Overfeeding of superflous knowledge can disorient or dampen a person’s spirit and can diminish his desires for things he really craves to do. It is tragic when education destroys rather than motivate.

The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.  Herbert Spencer

Sometimes I ask myself whether the full face value of my knowledge today is the product of spending 18 continuous years of formal education or the product of my maturity – the progressive education I obtained through years of on the job training and experience, self-initiated reading and research to satisfy my curiosity and achieve competency in my chosen field of endeavor, inter-action with the real world, not only on how things look on paper but how they really work, behave and affect people’s lives. There is an inseparable correlation between theory and practice and education cannot be complete if either one is missing. Much like a Marine who undergoes a rigorous, excruciating training but hasn’t gone to war, the image of a warrior isn’t quite complete.

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